ASEAN Promotes CSR
Senior Officials from different government agencies from ASEAN Member States, representatives from the private sector, civil society organisations, the ASEAN Foundation, ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Network, and international organisations congregated here for the Regional Workshop on ASEAN Action Plan on CSR. The event was officiated by the Minister of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand, Mr Santi Prompat, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand, Mr Kittiratt Na Ranong.
"ASEAN today has played an active role in promoting CSR," said Mr Santi Prompat. He highlighted that the primary goal of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint is to promote a people-centred and socially responsible ASEAN where the well-being, livelihood, and welfare of the people are enhanced.
The participants exchanged views on how best to promote CSR in ASEAN as well as in the corporate agenda called for in the ASCC Blueprint. The Workshop underscored that an inter-sectoral approach needs to be sought in ASEAN as CSR has various dimensions – environmental, social, labour, or human rights. The participants explored ways how a regional CSR platform could be developed and acknowledged that CSR has become an important business agenda globally and regionally. One way of promoting CSR in ASEAN is through a healthy interface between regulatory authorities, businesses, and civil society.
Each ASEAN Member State presented its respective national CSR initiatives and strategies. There are different CSR strategies and programmes being adopted by ASEAN Member States, some through legal mechanisms, while others are through Public-Private Partnerships. Speakers and discussants underscored that in general, companies in ASEAN should move from philanthropic and charitable CSR to a rights-based approach supported by sound governmental regulations. Truly responsible CSR practices are ones that contribute to society and perceive people as the business' most valued-asset, integrating these business practices as part of the company's DNA.
The Workshop made a set of recommendations to the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council with a view to propose the Ministers responsible to incorporate the crisp points stemming from the Regional Workshop in the development of an ASEAN action plan on CSR.
Following this Workshop, the ASEAN Senior Officials on Social Welfare and Development will convene their 7th Meeting on 21-22 September. They will also meet the representatives of non-governmental organisations from ASEAN Member States on 20 September and their counterparts from China, Japan and Republic of Korea on 23 September. Those Meetings will carry the theme "Establishment of the Social Protection Floor on Social Welfare and Development within ASEAN".